Skip to main content

How Mitsubishi Outlander Beats Subaru Forester, Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V

Are you looking for an affordable 3-Row family SUV? The 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander provides the answer and beats the competition.


The 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander is one of the least expensive three-row crossovers on the market. If you’ve shied away from the Mitsubishi brand, you aren’t the only one. But Nissan has infused cash into the Japanese automaker and they are going to be a growing brand in the U.S. market moving forward. This week we drive the top-trim 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander 3.0 GT S-AWC.

Mitsubishi has a mission to offer value-minded families efficiency, comfort, and space and it’s available in the Outlander SUV. It’s close in size to the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, and Subaru Forester, but it feels roomier inside. All those vehicles don’t offer a third row option like Outlander.

What’s new for 2018?

The top-trim Outlander 3.0 GT S-AWC we are testing gets a top-down, 360-degree parking camera and heated steering wheel included as standard equipment.

Features and options

The 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander 3.0 GT S-AWC has the more powerful and more desirable V6 engine that increases the tow rating. It comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, LED running lights and taillights, heated mirrors, rear privacy glass, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped tilt/telescoping steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver seat, a 60/40-split folding second-row seat that slides and reclines, a 50/50-split third-row seat, a rearview camera, voice controls, Bluetooth connectivity, and a six-speaker sound system with a 7-inch touchscreen display, a CD player and a USB port.

GT trims also come standard with automatic headlights, power-folding mirrors, automatic wipers, gloss-black interior trim, a power liftgate, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, leather upholstery, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, chrome exterior beltline accents and steering-wheel shift paddles.

Top-trim GT models get LED headlights and LED foglights, a sunroof, a heated steering wheel, a 360-degree parking camera system, and a nine-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system. The GT Touring package ($1,000) added automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, a forward collision mitigation system with automatic braking, and a lane departure warning system. As you would guess, the GT is the most expensive Outlander. This model has a total MSRP of $34,150 including destination.

Interior highlights

Stepping inside the Outlander GT reveals the smell of leather, soft touch materials, excellent headroom and plenty of legroom for taller adults. The front seats are supportive, the 8-way driver’s seat let us find the perfect position, and the driver has a commanding view of the road which we like. Outward visibility is excellent. The gauges are easy to read and the tilt/telescoping steering wheel offers buttons for easy use.


Unlike many small SUVs in this segment, the second row doesn’t feel flat and hard, and it’s comfortable enough for three adults. Both second and third rows fold perfectly flat, creating a large cargo space with a low load height which made it easy to load boxes this week. The sunroof casts light into the back even though the rear gets dark tinted privacy glass.

Like most three-row SUVs, the third row is suitable for kids and not adults, and it’s not all that easy to access. You can’t slide the second row fore and aft, as you can with some other three-row models. but at this price point you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more affordable family hauler.

Engine and fuel mileage specs

Outlander 3.0 GT S-AWC is powered by the bigger 3.0-liter V6 engine producing 224 horsepower, and 215 lb-ft of torque. It comes paired with a conventional six-speed automatic, features Mitsubishi’s rally-bred all-wheel drive, and gets a more sophisticated AWD system that controls differentials front and center.

The 3.0-liter V6 increases towing capacity from 1500 to 3500 pounds, and has a pleasing exhaust note. The GT V6 with all-wheel drive, gets an EPA/DOT 20/27 city/highway mpg, and 22 combined mpg using premium unleaded fuel.

Driving dynamics

The Outlander GT V6 has good power for most driving situations in town and on the highway for commuting. We drove the small SUV at altitude and felt it could have used a little more power going up I-70 outside of Denver. With a full load of people and cargo it could get overtaxed. In the city, it’s easy to maneuver and with all the added safety equipment, it lets you know of anything that could cause you a problem.

At highway speeds, Outlander is one of the quietest small SUVs in its class and it’s easy to see out of. Families will feel safe in this hauler because of what Mitsubishi calls their Super All Wheel Control (S-AWC) all-wheel-drive system. It offers more off-road ability than most other vehicles in its class. Mitsubishi developed it on the rally stages and the brand is also a leader in Paris-Dakar raids across the desert. Outlander’s AWD and suspension are fully up to the task of heading up rugged gravel roads or rock-strewn paths on the way to the trailhead.

It’s a very capable all-weather family SUV and perfect for those living in cold weather climates where the roads get snowy and icy. The transmission lets you choose between Eco, Normal, Snow, and Lock depending on your traveling needs, with Lock being the high-traction mode for off-road adventures.


The 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander in 3.0 GT S-AWC trim offers up families a three-row option at an affordable price. Lower trims are also available for less money if you don’t need all the extras the GT trim provides. Overall, If you're looking for an all-weather, off-road capable three-row crossover on a budget, the Outlander is a must to check out.

Photo credit: Mitsubishi USA


Ed B (not verified)    January 5, 2018 - 9:29AM

As noted, a good alternative. However, I've found the brand to be expensive in terms of repairs/maintenance. They usually require factory parts (especially in the case of collision damage) and can be quite expensive. You get what you pay for this with brand.